Sunday, June 28, 2009

Make No Little Plans

President Barack Obama recently urged Americans to “Make no little plans.” Looking at the construction site at 25th and Bloomington, it’s obvious that Open Arms agrees with him. Of course, we started our big plan to construct a larger facility long before Mr. Obama became president, but our plan has proved more prescient that we even realized.


Health care reform is back on the agenda in the United States. The critical role that nutrition plays in maintaining and improving health must be considered as part of this national debate. Open Arms’ new facility will allow us to more than double the number of clients we can serve in the Twin Cities. Anecdotally, we know that our service shortens hospital stays, sometimes prevents admission into nursing homes and subsequently contributes to our clients’ ability to live independently.


Open Arms is part of a continuum of care that helps to improve the health of some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens. By the time the health care system is reformed in this country, our new building will be open and Open Arms will be able to plan an even greater role in addressing hunger and nutrition for people living with chronic and progressive diseases in the Twin Cities.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's Construction Photos

Every day, on my way to and from Open Arms, I drive by the future home of Open Arms. Here are a few photos from Wednesday evening. You may be able to see the deeper spots in the basement floor, which indicates where our walk-in cooler and freezer will be located.

With just seven days of construction behind us, there haven't been any big surprises, which is a relief. It's getting very exciting!

-Kent, Operations Director

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ground is Broken on New Building

After years of planning and fundraising, bulldozers and trucks have arrived on the site of Open Arms’ new building and environmental clean-up of the property at 25th Street and Bloomington Avenue has begun. Weather permitting, every day from now until next February – when we anticipate the project being complete – you may notice daily changes on the site. Drive by often to watch the construction yourself, and we will keep you updated on our progress on this blog as well.

We also want to hear from you.

Please share your stories about Open Arms – our past and our future and your thoughts about our new building – and e-mail them to If you are willing, we would like to post your comments on our blog.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Upcoming Events to Benefit Open Arms

This year – more than over – Open Arms literally needs the community to step up and help us.


Not surprisingly, given our expanded mission and the recession, we are serving more clients than ever before. If you’ve been at Open Arms recently you know that we are bursting at the seams. We are nearly out of cooler space to store food and freezer space to store the meals once they are prepared. Volunteer cooks work elbow to elbow in the kitchen. Volunteer drivers patiently wait for a spot in the parking lot to pick up their delivery routes. Employees are working from home and sharing desks at Open Arms in an attempt to keep up with the increasing workload.


All of this will change, of course, by early 2010 when we are operating from our new building. Our capital campaign, however, adds one more major challenge for us this year: we need to raise an additional $1 million to complete our $8.1 million capital campaign by December 31, 2009.


All of these factors have me asking our friends and supporters to consider doing even more for us this year. We have two exciting fundraising events coming up this summer and both of them could use your help.


Dusk2Dawn – This is the inaugural year of the first event of its kind – an evening walk to benefit two nonprofits – Open Arms and Arm In Arm In Africa – with the proceeds from the event supporting people living with HIV/AIDS in the Twin Cities and others living with the same disease in South Africa.

On the evening of Saturday, September 26, walkers will take to the streets of Minneapolis at dusk, walk either a seven- or 10-mile route, and then join a celebration to mark the end of a successful event.


This is a family-friendly fundraiser. Children between the ages of 10 and 17, and fulltime students, need raise only $100 to participate. Individual adults must raise a minimum of $200, and teams of two people must raise only $300.


We want Dusk2Dawn to become an annual event that can just grow and grow into the future. Please join us this year to ensure that will happen. Visit and join Team Open Arms.


Hartford Breast Cancer Ride – If you join us for the second annual, two-day bike ride to benefit our clients with breast cancer, you will be cross training for our evening walk two months later!


This year’s Breast Cancer Ride is certain to be more beautiful and enjoyable than last year. We depart on the morning of Saturday, August 1 from Southdale. Fifty five miles later, and several fun pit stops, will bring us into Treasure Island Casino where great meals, entertainment and conversation await us for the evening. (For those of you who are up for the challenge, there is the option of an additional 35 mile loop to bring the first day’s mileage to 90 miles!)


After a huge breakfast, we leave Sunday morning, August 2, for our return to the Twin Cities. A 50-mile ride, again with plenty of pit stops, brings us to the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley for our exciting – and always emotional – closing ceremonies. We are pleased that this year’s ride will also benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Minnesota.


The Hartford Breast Cancer Ride is a two-day challenge and riders must raise a minimum of $750. But I know we all agree that two days on a bike is much less challenging than treatment for breast cancer. Visit and join Team Open Arms.


Don’t want to walk? Can’t see yourself on a bike for two days? Both Dusk2Dawn and the Hartford Breast Cancer Ride also need crew members. Information on crewing is also on their websites.


Please step up to help Open Arms by registering for Dusk2Dawn and/or the Hartford Breast Cancer Ride today.